OBITUARY: Elizabeth Joneen Merrow


Elizabeth Joneen Merrow, a trailblazing working woman with a heart full of compassion, passed away on September 4, 2023, in Columbia, Tennessee at the age of 82.

She was born on August 9, 1941, in Flint, Michigan, to the late John Leslie and Grace Arline Leslie.

Joneen, fondly known as “Jonnie” by her loved ones, leaves behind a legacy that embodies strength, resilience, and a commitment to making a positive impact on her community. She broke barriers by becoming one of the first women to work at Chevy in the Hole in Flint, Michigan.

Her involvement in her community extended far beyond her workplace. Jonnie was a proud member of the American Business Women’s Association of Flint, Michigan, where she connected with like-minded individuals and contributed to the growth of her community.

One of her most remarkable contributions was the coordination of the “Shop with a Cop” Program in collaboration with Pierson Road’s Meijers Grocery Store. This initiative aimed to build positive relationships between youth and law enforcement officers. Each year, young children from kindergarten to sixth grade were selected to shop for gifts for their immediate family during the holiday season. Jonnie’s dedication to fostering these connections left an indelible mark on her community.

After retiring, Jonnie embarked on a remarkable journey with her late husband, Henry Edward “Ed” Merrow, exploring the United States in their RV. They ventured to nearly every state, leaving behind footprints in countless national parks. Ed and Jonnie loved to travel with family and friends and treasured all the memories made on the road.

Jonnie was an active member of the Krapohl Senior Center in Mt. Morris, Michigan, where she formed lasting friendships and enjoyed the pleasures of community. Her personality endeared her to all who knew her; she was known for her fun and spunky demeanor, always speaking her mind and telling it like it is.

Jonnie is survived by her daughter, Kathryn (Ken) Beckman of Spring Hill, Tennessee; sons, Curtis McMann and Scott Harger, of Flint, Michigan. She leaves behind grandchildren, Donell (Jeremy) Gilley, Lisa Beckman, and Kate (Tyler) Sneed, as well as three great-grandchildren: Kinsley and Elliott Gilley and Charlie Sneed. She is also survived by her brother, Lance (Wanda) Leslie of Clio, Michigan, her beloved stepchildren, Marshall Harger, Janis Ford, and Sondra Merrow, her special canine companion Molly, and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Elizabeth Joneen Merrow’s life was one marked by resilience, compassion, and an unwavering commitment to her community. Her legacy will live on in the hearts of her loved ones and all those whose lives she touched. She will be remembered not only for her hard work but also for her boundless generosity and the lasting impact she made on those around her.

The family would like to thank all the caregivers and staff at Morning Pointe Assisted Living of Columbia and Life Care Center of Columbia for their kindness, loving care, and friendship.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation to a local “Shop with a Cop” program in honor of Jonnie.


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